In honor of Star Trek’s 50th anniversary, the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum in NYC rolled out its own slice of awesomeness: Star Trek: The Starfleet Academy Experience. BNP’s Brittany and Nicole were excited to boldly go and investigate.
The premise is this: We (exhibit visitors) are essentially high school students going on a college tour of Star Fleet Academy. It’s a great premise to set up the way information from all of the series and movies is presented to visitors: as historical fact.
Brittany: I wouldn’t call myself a hardcore Star Trek fan so I didn’t expect to get as much joy out of The Starfleet Academy Experience as I did. It’s deeply interactive and not even the visible temporary ceiling can keep you from diving in. I felt nine year-old me who wanted to go to Space Camp emerge. I slapped her back down and kept up my phaser target practice. It was grown-up time. I had to put in that work.
Nicole: I’m the ideal visitor to the Star Trek exhibit. I inherited the fandom from my dad and have never wavered. So, I
expected hoped to like it. That said, I’ve been to some horrible and disappointing exhibits before, so I was cautiously optimistic.
To start the immersive experience, visitors get a a wristband that allows us to move to the (many!) interactive parts of the exhibit and track our progress.
B: Bruh… it’s lit! If the SATs and college application process had been like this I would’ve been full-ride Ivy League. As it stands, your girl’s hitting Starfleet with a specialty in Command! I’m finna Captain Kirk out! Aye!
N: I feel so validated that Star Fleet Academy confirmed
my dead inside-ness my emotional detachment my objective curiosity; in the honorable traditional of Mr. Spock, I have a promising future in Science.
How do they measure our aptitudes? As you move through the exhibit, you participate in a lot mini-activities: phaser target practice, navigating a ship through space, scanning a patient in Sick Bay, etc. You scan your wrist band and then at the end, through the magic of data aggregation, you get your results (which can be emailed directly to you for the truly nerdy among us).
B: Really this experience is for all ages from young readers to fans who’ve been watching since the days of The Original Series. There’s a focus on technology. Contemporary tech inspired by the gadgets in the Star Trek series become the primitive predecessors to the fictional items that sparked their creation. It’s the least harmful version of “I’m my own grandpa” you’ll ever encounter.
N: There’s a decent amount of reading, but it’s optional so the wee ones could still have a good time touching and interacting with the exhibit if they have even a basic understanding of the show/movies/story. And, seriously, start them young; start them now. The museum even offers some overnight experiences for families/groups. I’m not going to lie: a sleepover on a Star Ship might be my next birthday present to myself.
B: If you’re in New York City between now and October 31st (when the exhibit closes), definitely check Star Trek: The Starfleet Academy Experience out. You don’t get many opportunities to fire a phase or fail the Kobayashi Maru from the bridge of a starship.